A Gardiner man accused of robbing the Osco Pharmacy at the Shaw’s supermarket in Augusta twice within two days last fall has pleaded not guilty in federal court in Bangor.
Ryan McLaughlin, 26, waived a detention hearing after being arraigned on two counts of interfering with commerce by robbery at his initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court.
McLaughlin was first arrested by FBI agents in Portland on unrelated warrants on Nov. 14, a day after the second robbery, and the robbery charges were added shortly thereafter. He has been in custody since then, and U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison ordered that he continue to be held pending trial.
He is accused of robbing the Western Avenue pharmacy shortly after noon on both Nov. 11 and 13. The description of the robber and manner of the crimes in each case were identical. In both cases, McLaughlin is accused of passing a note to employees demanding oxycodone and fleeing with the drugs.
At the time of the robberies, Augusta police were already seeking McLaughlin in connection with at least one burglary, according to state court filings.
McLaughlin was indicted this week by the Kennebec County grand jury on new four new felony charges, two counts of burglary and two counts of theft by unauthorized taking. In the new indictment, he is accused of breaking into a Pittston building-moving company, Jewett Builders, in October 2013 and into a Pittston man’s home on Nov. 5, 2013. He will face those charges at the state court level.
Augusta police identified McLaughlin following the pharmacy robberies based on tips from the public after the Kennebec Journal ran a photo of the suspect. Investigators then tracked McLaughlin and his girlfriend through acquaintances to a Portland hotel where they were staying and joined the FBI to arrest McLaughlin there.
An affidavit by Augusta police Detective Jason Cote filed in November in Augusta District Court outlined some of the evidence against McLaughlin. Cote had helped interview McLaughlin at the FBI office.
“McLaughlin confessed to both pharmacy robberies at Shaw’s in Augusta. He admitted he has a severe opiate addiction,” Cote wrote. “He stated due to his severe addiction and no place to live, in mere desperation, he decided to rob the Shaw’s pharmacy.”
Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.
Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at: